Green light for £33m link road

Highways Reporters

Worcestershire County Council has agreed to progress with the third phase of improvements to a £33 million link road.

The Southern Link Road (A4440) in Worcester is one of the county’s busiest routes. The council’s cabinet gave the green light to the latest improvements last week.

The project, the largest road improvement project of its type in Worcestershire for more than 20 years, will cost £33m and build on the works currently taking place (phases two) at the Ketch roundabout, which also includes dualling of the carriageway towards the Norton roundabout to reduce journey times and tackle congestion on the A4440.

Around 30,000 vehicles use the route each weekday. Traffic modelling predicts that in just 12 years doing nothing would result in a 30% increase in journey times and 12% increase in travel distances around Worcester.

Included in phase three is:

  • The dualling of the entire length of the A4440 between the Whittington junction and the new Ketch roundabout currently under construction

  • Improvements and upgrades to the Norton roundabout

  • New dedicated left-hand turn from Whittington Road (from M5 Junction Seven) to the westbound A4440 Crookbarrow Way

  • A new bridleway bridge suitable for equestrians, cyclists and pedestrians

  • A new rail bridge.

Work on phase three is expected to begin as early as Spring next year. If that happens construction works could be finished by early 2018.

Funding for the package of improvements comes from a number of significant sources including £12mLocal Growth Fund monies provisionally secured through the county's strategic economic plan, £16.3m provisional funding from the South Worcestershire Urban Extension development and £700,000 from the county council. The potential for a further £3m from the county council has also been agreed although other funding routes will continue to be explored.

Cllr Simon Geraghty, cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: "Dualling the Southern Link Road has been identified by us, the Local Enterprise Partnership, our MPs, district and city council partners and our businesses, through Worcestershire's Strategic Economic Plan, as one of the top transport priorities.

"More than 30,000 vehicles use the route, constructed in the 1980s, each weekday and modelling predicts a worsening picture over the next 10 to 15 years if we did nothing.

"We've been clear that we'd be adopting a phased approach to this work with schemes offering real and immediate benefits fitting into the wider plan of dual-tracking the entire length of the A4440 from Powick Island to Whittington Roundabout.

"This decision demonstrates our commitment to realising this ambition and represents the largest single investment in road-building for decades. It also demonstrates our real commitment to ensuring Worcestershire is very much 'Open for Business' in the years to come."

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